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Canadian Master Thief Steals All the Maple Syrup


EleCivil

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Source: http://www.theglobea...article4510740/

Someone stole over $30 million worth of syrup from Quebec.

From the article:

The theft was discovered during a routine inventory check last week at the St-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse, where the syrup is being held temporarily. The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which is responsible for the global strategic maple syrup reserve, initially kept the news quiet, hoping it would help police solve the crime quickly.

There's a global strategic maple syrup reserve. As well as what sounds like a syrup version of OPEC. And someone robbed them.

This someone now has 10 million pounds of hot syrup on their hands! Where the hell do you fence stolen syrup? Does he have to go to a condiment launderer? Is the syrup racket affiliated with a syrup mafia? Do the police have a specialized unit for things like this?

This needs to be made into a story. Or a movie. Or a Law and Order episode. SOMETHING.

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Thinking on it, perhaps I was wrong with my title - we do not know for sure that the thieves were Canadian. This might have been an international ring of thieves, perhaps specializing in stealing large quantities of foodstuffs. Or perhaps a gang of radical nutrition enthusiasts/health-food terrorists?

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I buy maple syrup by the gallon from a mail order wholesaler in Vermont. None of this black market Canadian stuff for me!

But you have an excellent point; fencing the stuff will be a nightmare. And just how did they make off with the stuff? Pull a tanker truck up to the vats and open a valve? And no one saw them?

I'd guess it was an inside job. Maybe they didn't really have that much, but were carrying in on inventory, and an auditor was due.

Sounds suspicious to me.

But commission the story from Gee. If he can write about chocolate bars being snuck acorss the border, then this is right up his alley. He can call it The Maple Sugar Caper.

C

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I adore maple syrup, but the real stuff is seriously expensive in the U.K. and thus a bit of a luxury. Still, I find it hard to imagine a maple syrup black market unless aliens (or the Bilderberg Group) have found it the perfect power source for trans-dimensional travel....

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It's very expensive here, too, especially in small bottles on the grocery shelves. Brown colored sweet stuff that's called syrup, like Aunt Jamima or Mrs. Butterworth, is much less costly, and of course doesn't taste like maple syrup.

But the cost is why I buy it a gallon at a time, mail order. A gallon probably lasts me a year or more, and sometimes by then, even in the refrigerator, it's formed rock sugar at the bottom of the jug and needs to be heated to turn back into syrup, but it's still cheaper that way, and always on hand when needed.

Oh, a recommendation. Grade A maple syrup is rather tasteless, just sweet. Grade B is the way to go. Much better stuff with a strong maple flavor.

C

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The chief source for maple syrup is the sugar maple (acer saccharum). While this tree does grow in southern Canada, its range is actually along the U.S. eastern seaboard and as far west as the Mississippi River and south to the Carolinas. There are many small producers of "local" maple syrup within most of the included states. I like it as a topping for vanilla ice cream; my parents' generation used it in their iced tea. I no longer use it on pancakes and prefer butter alone, which on my diet is a more exotic (and forbidden) treat than maple syrup.

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Just to clear up a few things for those in other countries chuckling about all this. Yes, there's a "strategic reserve" of maple syrup. That makes sense when you think about it. Canada produces 80% of the world's supply, and in economic terms that massively significant. Maple syrup is finicky. Maple trees like chilly nights and moderate days to produce the best syrup. Weather is a huge factor. Some years are great. Other years are lousy. But, the world doesn't care. It wants its syrup. So, the reserve keeps the prices somewhat stable and keeps the yummy stuff flowing even when there's two or three bad years in a row.

Real maple syrup has about as much relationship to Aunt Jemima as Brunschwig & Fils does to Ikea furniture. There really is no comparison. At all. It's hard to eat maple flavored Aunt Jemima after you've enjoyed the real thing.

It's almost certainly an inside job. Access to the supplies, transport of it, and, most importantly, worldwide connections to sell the (ahem) hot syrup would result in a real (ahem) sticky situation if you didn't know what you were doing. Chances are reasonable that some or all of it will be recovered as a result. We'll see.

Now, go make some pancakes. With real maple syrup. While you have the chance. The price is about to skyrocket.

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Okay...Maple syrup is out of my des-titute reach in Australia. $8 a small bottle of 200mls or so.

So I researched "homemade" syrup and found that fenugreek (an aromatic herb used in curries) is also used to make artificial maple syrup.

It kind of resembles the taste and flavour of the real stuff, not as good, but acceptable in my impoverished life.

Here is the recipe resulting from my research. There are other recipes on the Net.

Put 500grams of brown sugar in a large saucepan and stir in a rounded desert spoon of powdered fenugreek, until it is well mixed with the sugar.

Cover the mixture with 2 cups of cold water. I use filtered water.

Stir the mixture until sugar appears to be dissolved and then bring to the boil on the stove, stirring occasionally.

Keep an eye on it as it doesn't take long.

Reduce heat and let the mixture simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes. (Depends on the moisture content in the sugar.)

Or until the liquid changes from watery to a little syrupy. Remember that when it cools down it will be thicker, so don't heat it for too long.

When ready remove from heat and strain into a heat proof glass jug. I use a tea leaf strainer.

Results are influenced by the type of brown sugar you use. The light brown sugar doesn't have a lot of flavour, and the really dark brown sugar is a little too strong. You want the medium brown.

Fenugreek is cheapest from our Asian supermarkets. Total cost (including the sugar) is about $2.50 for about 3 cups of syrup, depending on your local suppliers, and the thickness you want the syrup to be.

A few notes about fenugreek from Wiki;

A June 2011 study at the Australian Centre for Integrative Clinical and Molecular Medicine found that men aged 25 to 52 who took a fenugreek extract twice daily for six weeks scored 25% higher on tests gauging libido levels than those who took a placebo.

Fenugreek is also thought to increase milk supply in lactating women.

Its use as a herb or medicinal is thought to date back 4000 years. See
this link
: "In India and China it has also been used to treat arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, improve digestion, maintain a healthy metabolism,
increase libido and male potency
, cure skin problems (wounds, rashes and boils), treat sore throat, and cure acid reflux. Fenugreek also has a long history of use for the treatment of reproductive disorders, to induce labor, to treat hormonal disorders, to help with breast enlargement, and to reduce menstrual pain. Recent studies have shown that Fenugreek helps lower blood glucose and cholestrol levels, and may be an effective treatment for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. It is also being studied for its cardiovascular benefits."

Some side effects are known but don't seem to be serious. However too much fenugreek may give an unpleasant odour to your urine, but this has also been noticed with maple syrup, I believe.

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The price of "real" maple syrup here in the US is just ungodly. I enjoyed it as a kid growing up in Northern Minnesota, but have had to satisfy myself with Aunt Jemimas buttery stuff.

Thank you Des for that recipe. I plan on making a few gallons to have on hand.

Now...

Where can I find some Fenugreek? I may have to order it online, as I'm in Southern New Mexico, and the only thing they think about here is green chile.

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Fascinating! For instance: I had no idea there were two grades of Maple Syrup, or that grade B was nicer than grade A - you'd think it would be the other way around.

Also, I have never heard of Fenugreek, or if I have I've forgotten. I must try Des' receipe for syrup.

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My local Asian supermarket sells fenugreek in bulk, at about $1/ 100grams. You might also find it in alternative whole grain stores that sell curry powder, etc.

Buying it in pill or capsule form would be very expensive, I would think.

Please don't think that the fenugreek is going to be an exact match for the real maple syrup, but it is okay.

There are more elaborate recipes than mine, such as soaking the fenugreek powder (or seeds) in vodka, and then mixing the liquid into a sugar syrup. I have done that and it is closer to the real thing...but the price of vodka is not all that cheap, either.

Please experiment with quantities, and share your results, and your erotic fantasies, all coated with maple syrup. :blink:

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